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jesus-anima.gif It’s Good Friday, 2008. Lea and I are together, and we pray thankfully every single day that we have been given the privilege to be together. Lea continues to make good progress in recovering from her time in “the hospital” . . . in Meriden and Hartford, Connecticut, Noblesville, Indiana and Kealakekua, Hawaii. During the past two and a half years there have been some very difficult times involved in her recovery from emotional, mental and physical challenges, but our Lord, God, has been with us every step of the way. We have never felt closer to Him, and pray each day that He will direct us in walking the path He has chosen for us.

Since the end of last year I’ve been following a little baby’s trials in trying to recover from a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a defect or hole in the diaphragm that allows the intestine to squash the lungs and prevent them from developing properly. Only five pounds five ounces at birth, the hole in Anna’s diaphragm was quickly discovered, and she was transferred to Indianapolis’ Riley Children’s Hospital for treatment. She is still there today, and is preparing to undergo another surgery today. She has a journal blog at if you would like to keep up with her progress.

I have experienced many floods of emotion as I follow the ups and downs she and her extended family are experiencing. I have been through most of those same trials during Lea’s treatment and certainly recall the horror and helplessness I felt. It makes me feel certain that the Lord is working through Anna to reach out to all who will listen to help them hear the news of His good and great plan for each of us who have accepted Jesus as our Saviour and the doorway to complete forgiveness of our sins. Praise God!

As I read the journal entry posted by her parents this morning, saying that Anna was awaiting this next surgery, and they are hoping it will be a great step to achieving a normal life, I was just flooded by gratitude that our own grandson, now almost five months old, has been such a blessing to us! We have marveled as we have watched his mental capacity and eye-muscle coordination improve as he grows, and just absolutely melt when he gives us a smile.

We have praised God so many times for the blessing of this new grandchild, and I try to see in the pictures of Anna that are posted periodically that she, too, is growing in these ways. Each little baby brought into the world is such a wonderful blessing; a heavenly gift that can bring such joy! And, I am humbled that Anna’s grandparents are having to go through a different kind of experience, certainly a more difficult one, and my heart goes out to them. I can empathize with the pain they feel, and know all too well the helplessness one feels.

The Caring Bridge blog the hospital provides for Anna is a wonderful means to help loved ones keep up on Anna’s progress, but I also know that it serves as an excellent source of strength and support for her parents and family. In my own case, some of the best support I received came through emails that encouraged me, gave personal testimony, and lifted Lea up in prayer. It seemed to me that I always got just exactly the message I needed for that day, just in time. It was uncanny . . . each of the four times Lea clinically died and was revived, there was a message from God in my email!

I hope that I have learned to be more openly appreciative of His works, more expressive of His plan of salvation, and a better witness for the peace one can obtain by turning your life over to God. Hopelessness, I think, may be most evident when you have a loved one in critical care for an extended period of time. There is nothing you can do; you have to trust their caregivers to keep them safe. That’s when you feel totally helpless. They even control when and where you can visit your loved one!

his is when it’s time to get on your knees, or prostrate yourself in front of God, and say, “Okay, Father, I know You are in control here. I can’t do anything! I am powerless to determine how this is going to turn out. I can only say that I know you love her/him, and that you can work through her/him to reach others who need to receive The Word. I just pray, Father, that if it is Your Will that she/he be taken home to receive her/his reward, that You will give me the wisdom to understand that my personal loss might be a blessing to You and Your works here on Earth, and please give me the strength to be a good and obedient servant. Thy Will be done! Amen.”

We pray that the Lord’s will for Anna is that she be given miraculous healing to help her overcome this problem, and that she be granted a full and healthy life in His service. I pray that He continue the shower of blessings on our extended family, as we share His word; that He will always have His hand in the life of our grandson, just as He has for our delightful teen-age granddaughters, who have already given of themselves to minister for Him on mission trips.

What a joy it has been to see seeds planted long ago bear such bountiful fruit! Can you imagine how He feels as He watches us? Glory to God for all things, and may you receive a special blessing today, and each day of this Easter weekend, as you ponder the magnificent gift of life given us by the blood shed on the cross so long ago. And yet, He lives! I hope you saw Him here in this simple, humble posting. God bless!


Lea continues to make very good progress, health wise, and it appears that she is beginning to regain a lot of her memory. Just a week or so ago, however, she asked me how I got a scar that I have had since I was three years old. She has heard the story many times, so she doesn’t have total recall yet, but then, who does? I really don’t remember my memory ever being any better than it is today, but it might improve if I could just remember to take those pills! 🙂

We are certainly enjoying the warmer winter weather in Texas, and are happy we don’t have to deal with Indiana’s ice and snow with temperatures near or below freezing for three or four months in the winter. I built a little wooden bridge from the concrete slab patio just outside the back door to the large wooden deck just a few feet away, so Lea could do some pot gardening. She loves working in the soil, but can’t work in the ground any more.

The walkway between the patio and deck was formerly large stepping stones laying on the bare ground, and she was not able to cross over unassisted for fear of twisting her ankle or knee or hip. So, the deck seemed to make good sense, and seems to make her quite happy that she can get back to “turning over dirt.”
The deck also gives her a sense of independence because she can now go out on the deck whenever she wants to, without having to wait for me. I captured her on camera this afternoon, and asked her to tell about her garden. That video appears below.

She and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary yesterday, and enjoyed dinner together at a gourmet Italian restaurant near our home. It was our first visit there, and we were very pleased with the overall experience. We’ll go back again some time. We spent some time praying together last night, just praising God, and thanking Him for the shower of blessings He has been giving us during this time of healing for Lea.It is incredible how He continues to present new opportunities and friends, and provides for us, as my younger son would say, “Just in time.”

As we settle in, we have found a church that we are enjoying, and I have started some initial steps to get my consulting practice back up and running. I had to pretty much give it up entirely to care for Lea for the last couple of years, but now that she is getting better, I feel I can leave her alone for a few hours at a time, and would like to take on some advertising or marketing design, or maybe even some training design jobs. Again, I trust that He will open the doors according to His will. I just need to be ready to step through them.

We just thank Him every day for the blessings of that day, and pray for His guidance in serving His will.

I just received an update from our friend Chris, who is on active duty making medical flights into Iraq and Afghanistan to evacuate wounded and sick Americans. In this latest note he describes a nostalgic trip to the beaches of France made hallowed ground during World War Two. His narrative, below, gave me chills:

“Greetings once again from somewhere over Turkey, It is hard to believe that we are already less than 4 weeks from heading home. Our replacements are due in sometime around the 12th of next month, give them a few days to get oriented and spun up and I would anticipate heading home sometime around the 15th or so. We are currently on our 10th mission and are on pace for 16 before it is all said and done.

The patient loads remain relatively small and much to my surprise the number of trauma related patients is down even in the last month we have been here. Of course we still have our share of medical patients, usually contractors who don’t have the best health to begin with. I truly believe that the health screen used by some contract companies is: Have you ever died from a heart attack? Anything more in-depth they might actually discover the uncontrolled diabetes, CHF or even a heart attack that they did survive. None the less it keeps us busy on the flights.

During our down time over the past two weeks I had the opportunity to take two very interesting and moving road trips. Our first took us to Bastogne, known to most as the Battle of the Bulge. (NOTE: The battle lasted from mid-December 1944 to January 1945). To see it on TV has always been inspiring but to actually go there and walk through the same woods and small villages and to see the monuments was truly great.

Over the course of a month back in 1945-6 over 19,000 Americans were killed and another 40,000 wounded, it is truly sacred ground. Our second trip took us to 450 miles to the Northwest corner of France, Normandy. The entire region is so rich in history that it does not take long to realize the prices paid by the “Greatest Generation,” and the toll of blood they shed some 53 years ago.

Our first stop was a small village called Saint Lo. My Grandfather’s brother fought in the same town during July 1945 to liberate it. We went on to visit Carentan, the first objective for the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, the Church at Saint Mere Eglise then on to the beaches. First stop was Utah Beach. It had been raining steadily all day since we set out from Saint Lo, buy the time we reached the beach it was torrential down pour. Realizing we still had two more stops we opted to cut this visit short and made our way to Pointe de Hoc.

Here the Rangers were tasked with defending the western side of the units that was going to attack Omaha Beach. I have read of some of the ordeals of the Rangers and have seen on TV the cliffs they had to scale just to get up to fight the Germans. That is nothing compared to seeing it in person. Relatively untouched since D-Day, the craters from the initial bombardment, some reaching 10 feet deep, riddle the ledge to this day. Destroyed bunkers and old fighting positions are strewn throughout the ÂĽ mile long area.

From there we headed up the road maybe 4 miles to our ultimate objective, the American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach. There is a very nice museum located there complete with memorabilia from years past, video accounts of the battle from General Eisenhower and much more. A small hallway connects two exhibition rooms and as you walk through there is a reading of the names of those killed and still missing from the invasions on D-Day.

It takes almost an entire day to read through the list.

While I was\hoping deep down that the rain would subside for the hour of so we spent inside the memorial it wouldn’t be. Having wanted to make this trip for many years I resolved myself to getting soaked in order to live this moment.

As you walk from the museum to edge of the cemetery you come across a statue, “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves”, looking up toward the sky. The inscription on the back reads, “TO THOSE WE OWE THE HIGHEST RESOLVE, FOR THE CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY DIED SHALL LIVE”. For anyone who has been so blessed to visit these 750 acres of hallowedground, they would agree that it not a question of if you will cry, rather when you cry and how many times.

Just past the statue are the graves of 9,387 Americans. A generation past who did not know the meaning of fear, defines courage and whose bravery defies common sense.

The only bad thing about Normandy is of course that it is in France. The people of Normandy are very friendly, out going and still extremely thankful of what our Fathers or Grandfathers did for them years ago. The rest of France on the other hand, well that is best suited for another email at some other time.

In closing thank you for the number of request to donate to our unit fund (to prepare cookies and other snacks for wounded soldiers on the long flight home). I am sorry it has taken so long to get back to you so I will give it to everybody. Donations can be sent to: Treats for Troops, PSC 2, Box 50,000, APO AE 09094. I will talk to you soon. Chris”

Chris’ description brought to memory the many tales of that war that my family recalls. World War II spread to America when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. The United States declared war on Germany, Italy and Japan on December 11,1941 and on Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary the following June. My father enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve while a high school senior, and was ordered to the St Louis Military Recruiting Station on November 26, 1942 to be shipped to San Diego Recruit Depot for basic training.


He was honorably discharged only a few days later, on Dec 18, 1942, due to a severe allergic condition known as hay fever, or rhinitis, which is caused by pollens of seasonal plants. A person with rhinitis is not well suited for any type of combat duty where exposure to pollens, or dust, could trigger an allergic reaction and subsequent sneezing, which could give away an entire unit’s position, and the only treatment back then was mentholated inhalers, which were not very effective.

He returned to his young wife in Hannibal, Missouri and worked as a silk screen press operator at Hannibal Outdoor Advertising, and volunteered for duty with the Missouri State Guard as a radio operator. Many of my early memories about him are from his service with the State Guard and, later, with the National Guard.

My grandfather, William Thomas Vaughn, who later became a Baptist minister, served in France during World War I. My father had the photograph below in his personal collection, and was passed on to me by my mother. It shows my grandfather’s battalion posing in front of a building, somewhere in France during World War I.


Above: U.S. Expeditionary Forces’ 84th Division, 325th Machine Gun Battalion, posing while posted to France during World War I. William Thomas Vaughn is front row, kneeling, fifth from the right edge of the photo. Date unknown – Larry Vaughn Collection

Below: I received this photograph from my Aunt Ruth’s (dad’s sister) collection, of Company A, 325th Machine Gun Battalion, in Place de la Concorde, Paris. I have no information on the occasion, but notice the different uniforms the troops are wearing, from combat helmets to headquarters uniforms. My grandfather is in the back row, just to the right of the fountain. Date unknown – Sharon Walley Collection


Thanks to Chris for his notes on his trip to France. It brought back the reality of the sense of pride we have in all those men and women who have served our country in peace and war, today, and in times gone by. Their names are recorded in history forever. They will never be forgotten.

If you are able, could you send a dollar or two, or at least a note, to the address Chris gives above, to provide a little comfort for our sick and wounded troops as they are being transported to Germany for medical treatment? Our prayers remain with Chris and his team for a safe conclusion to their tour of duty and a safe return home to their loved ones.


Lea and I have been keeping very busy since relocating to Austin to be close to family that can help with Lea’s care. We have been enjoying getting to know our new neighborhood and community, finding a church, meeting new friends, and getting to be with our new grandson. It is amazing to see how he changes in just a few days, and we love to see how attentive mommy and daddy are, and how much they appreciate this precious gift. Some of our favorite times to date have been spent with his other set of grandparents, who are a joy to be around. They were both so very supportive while we were in Hartford Hospital, and their sharing and caring didn’t stop when we got home. We love them dearly, and look forward to many pleasant times together.

We have been seeing doctors since we arrived, making sure Lea’s many needs are being addressed by appropriate specialists. Our new family physician is a very pleasant young man, and is very thorough, just as Dr Miller always was. We have had lab tests, ECGs, chest X-rays, echocardiograms already, and he is going to refer Lea to an orthpedic surgeon to see what needs to be done to straighten up her leg. Even with the complete knee replacement, her leg still bends in so much that she still has a limp and has to use a cane for stability.

Yesterday, while holding Benjamin in her arms, she misstepped while turning in the bedroom, and fell to the floor. She protected him, holding him close, and fell first on her artificial knee, and then spun herself around to fall against the bed and bedside table with her back and left shoulder.  Neither of them was hurt, but she was very visibly shaken for several hours afterwards, just thinking about how quickly it had happened, and how dangerous it may have been. She still can’t handle stress well at all, and this type thing can still send her into an  anxiety attack. She was so fatigued by it all she went to bed at 8:30, and slept soundly for 14 hours!

Lea’s disability coverage under Social Security comes to an end on the 19th of this month, and she automatically will receive Medicare coverage, even though she isn’t retirement age yet. We were able to acquire a Medicare Prescription Plan for her at reasonable rates, but we are still going to hit the Medicare gap by June or July. We’re not certain Gap Insurance would be a good investment for us at this point, but any hints that additional surgery might be required this year could get us across that gap early enough in the year to make it a wise step to take.

She and I continue to enjoy cooking, and we are also checking out the local eateries as we try to have lunch out each day as a part of her mental recovery, which was originally suggested by Dr Mah, and recommended by Dr Miller. Each and every social interaction helps her regain her mental acuity, and I think we are seeing a lot of improvement in the last several weeks. It sure makes me happy when I see her social skills resurfacing, and the way she enjoys interacting with others. She has always loved people, and I have always admired how that bubbly personality of hers could dominate a room.

I continue to teach classes over the Internet in my part time job, which allows me to be at home and take care of her. But, I’m beginning to feel that I am going to have to get other work in order to get some health benefits. It sure isn’t a comfortable thought, leaving her at home alone, but simple economics may mandate that change be made. Regardless what comes down the pike at us, we know the Lord will be watching over us, and His will is what will be done.

We continue to grow our prayer list, and invite you to let us know if you would like us to add your concerns. Please take time to click on Prayer to review the prayer requests that have been added recently and still need your support. God bless!


In memory of my Aunt Jo, who, like a candle, spread her light through giving and caring for others. We rejoice that she is free of her earthbound troubles and now at home with our Heavenly Father. Still, her light burns on . . . . . .

Lea and I received the message below from our dear friend, Chris, who was one of Lea’s nurses in the Cardiac Acute Care Unit at Hartford Hospital in 2005. He is now on active duty as a flight nurse, caring for wounded soldiers being flown out of Iraq and Afghanistan. To catch up on his current tour of duty, see his writings in our Christmas time post,, in which we passed on two notes from Chris.

Here is his first note of the new year:

Greetings this week are from FL 330 somewhere over Turkey,

It is hard to believe that we are already on our 6th mission in only 20 days. Six missions almost 100 patients, over 55 hours of flight time and 30,000 miles flown so far. I can’t wait to cash in all of my frequent flyer miles. Since I can’t send this email until we get back to Germany early tomorrow morning I suppose there is no harm in saying that we are currently on our way home from Balad, Iraq.

Take off got a little sketchy but the rest of the flight has been fine. We are currently cooking up some hot dogs and corn dogs (sorry, no picture this time) for the troops. As soon as we get out of Iraq and obviously if the mission permits we cook up a hot meal for all of the patients. All of the food is purchased by our unit fund and help is always appreciated and needless to say it goes to a great cause. If anyone would like to make a donation please let me know.

The picture this week is from our version of Red Light district, somewhere near Mosul on our way down into Balad. Once we enter Iraq or Afghanistan airspace everyone puts on their armor, the lights turn red and helmets find their way onto our heads.

We have been averaging a mission every three to four days so when you consider the long days and trying to adjust your sleep schedule there isn’t a lot of down time. Free time usually consists of going to the gym and studying for a military course I am trying to get finished up while I am away. For a short time today we almost had two days off in a row however an unexpected urgent mission came up and in the end it will bump us up a day in the rotation.

If we can manage more than a day off I would like to make it to Normandy however that is at least an 8 hour drive so one day just wouldn’t cut it. New Year’s was spent much like Christmas in fun filled Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. It is incredible to see how much it has changed in the 3 years since I was stationed there. Instead of tents and buildings made of plywood there is actually a solid Hospital building complete with ED, ICU’s, OR and many of the services one would expect back in the States.

The food still stinks and so does the garbage burning but you can’t win them all. I can’t really say that I miss it all that much and besides the beer is a whole lot better in Germany. Well I should probably get back over to my hot dogs before I smoke up the cabin, I hope you all had a Happy New Year and I will talk to you soon. Chris

Lord, please keep a shield of protection around Chris and his team, and give peace and comfort to their families. Amen.

This (edited) note comes from Anna’s Aunt Rene via email:

Anna is doing well and the medical team is working their way toward being able to do surgery.

She’s a pretty little thing and we can’t wait to hold her — she’s got “White-family toes” (long and skinny) that are just waiting to be fiddled with — too cute for words.

What a wonderful hospital with fabulous staff — they are truly exceptional and make everything as easy as they can.  The family is all holding up really well and taking everything in stride.

Below is an email link that goes to a web page we were able to create at Riley Children’s Hospital for posting up to date information on Anna’s progress:  The hospital web page makes it easy for Alyssa, Anna’s mom, to update everyone about what is going on.  There is also a place to add a personal message, perhaps some comforting words, to Anna and the family.

Share with whomever you think might be interested — we look forward to seeing your messages!

Anna Renee Yutzy was born in Northern Indiana at 4:00 a.m. Saturday, December 29, 2007, just hours before her mother was to undergo a C section. Anna was four days overdue, and her parents were mentally preparing themselves for the upcoming surgery, when suddenly the natural birth process began, and Anna was delivered without a problem. She was, however, only five pounds five ounces upon arrival, and it was quickly discovered that she had a hole in her diaphragm.

According to, the diaphragm is the muscular sheet that separates the chest from the abdomen. A congenital diaphragmatic hernia occurs when the diaphragm does not form properly during pregnancy. A defect or hole in the diaphragm allows the intestine to push through the muscle, squashing the lungs, and preventing the lungs from developing properly.

Holes can occur in either side of the diaphragm but they usually occur in the left-hand side. Babies with a diaphragmatic hernia can have breathing and feeding problems. Up to half of babies with a diaphragmatic hernia also have other serious problems.

Anna has been transferred to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis for special care and diagnosis. This rare type hernia can be a life-threatening condition, particularly if the baby has other serious complications, and tests will be conducted urgently as soon as the baby is strong enough, and surgery will commence at the earliest opportunity.

Each little baby brought into the world is such a wonderful blessing; a heavenly gift that can bring such joy! We pray that the Lord’s will for Anna is that she be given miraculous healing to help her overcome this problem, and that she be granted a full and healthy life in His service.

Some members of the family have returned to their homes in Northern Indiana for much needed rest, while others remain in Indianapolis to be near her. It will, of course, be a night of troubled rest, as Anna struggles for survival. Her family and loved ones are asking that you take a moment to lift  up Anna Renee for the Lord’s blessing and miraculous healing, if that is His will, and that He provision peace and comfort for her parents and family. We know the power of prayer works, and ask for your help in praying for healing for this newborn.

It’s amazing! Our loving heavenly father has, once again, responded to the power of our prayers, and delivered little Kora. Earlier this evening I received the following email from Lea’s sister, Kathy:

“We just got back from taking Kora to the doctor in St. Louis and it’s not cancer. They said it is a virus. That it will have to take its course. Praise God! They said that if the lymphoid in her throat would continue to grow that they would have to do a biopsy but it would have to get twice as big and they really think it will go away. What a relief. Hollaluja! Thanks everyone for all the prayers.    God Bless Kathy”

Our family has been SO blessed! And, once again, every one of us was given an opportunity to realize how much we can rely on His benevolence and love. It is when matters are beyond our control that we are brought closer to Him, as we seek His help. He keeps showing us The Path, and we step on it and walk it as long as we need His help, and then begin to stray as soon as the crisis is over. This straying from the path is dangerous, and can bring His discipline down on you and those you love. Take heed! This was another chance to change our hearts and minds and submit to His will. Don’t waste it!

Blessed be His name!

Thank You, Father, for delivering Kora. Please place a shield of protection around her and give her comfort as she recovers from this illness. And, Father, please keep Your guiding hand in her daddy’s life as he struggles to help his young family. You know our hearts and our needs, Father, and we pray for Your continued blessings. Amen.

What a wonderful shower of blessings we have received in recent weeks, not the least of which is the fact that Lea is getting to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family. The past two years she has been hospitalized, so this is a truly joyful time for us. The photo is really special for us, because it shows our miracle girl napping with our latest miracle, grandson Benjamin. We have truly been blessed, and we give praise to our Lord and Saviour for the miracles He works every day! Happy Thanksgiving!

Lea and Benjamin


Experience the Miraculous Healing and Recovery of Lea Vaughn, and the incredible spiritual journey of her husband during 180 days in Hartford Hospital. Read his original daily emails in "Hartford Letters" above. ____________________________

In “Prayer,” above:

For Dave
Praise: Lea
For Bill and Jane
For Megan
For Charlotte
For Marnita
Praise: Gary
Praise: fellowship
For Herb
Praise: Joe
For Lea
For Unnamed


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